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"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."
-Gandalf on Radagast, The Fellowship of the Ring

Radagast (Adûnaic: "Tender Of Beasts") the Brown was one of five Wizards sent to Middle-earth to contest the will of Sauron. Originally a Maia of Yavanna, Radagast mainly concerned himself with the well-being of the plant and animal worlds, and thus did not participate heavily in the War of the Ring.

Biography[]

Years of the Lamps[]

Istari aiwendil by moi keiniku sang

Radagast as a Maia named Aiwendil before leaving the Undying Lands, by Moi-Keiniku-Sang

Originally named Aiwendil (Quenya: "Friend to birds"), Radagast was a Maia created before Time who descended into Arda to serve the Valar.[1] Aiwendil served the Valië Yavanna, Queen of the earth.

When the Undying Lands were separated from Arda after the Downfall of Númenor, Manwë was still concerned for the fate of the peoples of Middle-earth. Though Sauron had been overthrown, he had not been permanently vanquished. In time, his shadow began to emerge again. A council of the Valar was summoned, and it was decided that they would send emissaries to Middle-earth. These messengers should be "mighty peers of Sauron, yet forgo might, and clothe themselves in flesh," as they were intended to help Men and Elves unite against Sauron. These emissaries themselves, the wizards, did not match the Dark Lord in power. Aulë chose Curumo (Saruman), Oromë chose Alatar and Pallando (the Blue Wizards), and Manwë chose Olórin (Gandalf). Yavanna subsequently begged Curumo to take Aiwendil with him.

Third Age[]

Arrival in Middle-earth[]

Around the year TA 1000, the Maia arrived at the Grey Havens in the west of Eriador, having the form of old Men, whom the peoples called Wizards. Curumo arrived first and alone, and Aiwendil arrived at the same time as Olórin.[2] When the Wizards took their mission, they roamed Middle-earth. In this period, Aiwendil was renamed "Radagast" by the Ñoldor and became known for both his protection of the great Forests and his zeal for the animals, worrying little with the affairs of Men and Elves, but was far more knowledgeable in plants, birds and beasts in the forest. He also turned away from Saruman during this period, unaware that the White Wizard despised him and considered him a fool.

Radagast, Cavini

Radagast as seen by Ivan Cavini

In general, Radagast was never much of a traveler.[3] There is little told of his early journeys, but by the late Third Age, he had settled down and dwelt for a time at Rhosgobel, somewhere between the Carrock and the Old Forest Road.[2] Situated on the western edge of Mirkwood, the Wizard likely held watch against the shadow of Dol Guldur that slowly engulfed much of the forest. He likely became acquainted with that region's inhabitants. Close to animals and birds, he was friends with the Great Eagles.[3] Although the neighboring Beorn was unsociable, he saw Radagast from time to time, and considered him "not bad" for a Wizard.[4]

War of the Ring[]

In TA 2851, the White Council met once more, after which Saruman began to search the Gladden Fields for the One Ring. Radagast decided to aid his search, with birds and beasts acting as spies, hoping that Saruman's actions would help keep watch and hinder Sauron. Radagast did this in good faith, knowing nothing of Saruman's true ambition to acquire and keep the Ring for himself.[5]

By the War of the Ring, Radagast no longer dwelt in Rhosgobel. In summer of TA 3018, Saruman told Radagast that he was willing to help Gandalf, and sent the Brown Wizard to seek Gandalf at once. Radagast knew little of Eriador but sought for the Shire, knowing that he would find Gandalf nearby.[3]

Indeed, on Midsummer's Day, Radagast was sitting on the side of the Greenway with his horse near Bree when Gandalf found him on his way to the village. Radagast warned Gandalf that the Nazgûl were abroad, disguised as riders in black, seeking news of the Shire. He also gave Gandalf Saruman's invitation, and agreed to help Gandalf by having beasts and birds to send news to Orthanc. With that he rode away back towards Mirkwood.[3]

Radagasttheborwn

Radagast the Brown during the War of the Ring

Saruman's message proved to be a trap for Gandalf who, after coming to Orthanc, was imprisoned; but Gandalf still believed that Radagast was not under Saruman's sway. Indeed, it was thanks to Radagast that Gandalf was able to escape from the pinnacle of Orthanc upon the wings of Gwaihir.[3]

Radagast's actions during and after the rest of the War are not recorded. After the Council of Elrond, scouts were sent out from Rivendell to many different locations. Some passed over the Misty Mountains and eventually came to Rhosgobel, but found that Radagast was not there.[6] His fate after the War of the Ring is untold,[2] however, as his task had been to oppose Sauron, his powers likely would have dwindled if he remained in Middle-earth after Mordor's destruction.

Etymology[]

Aiwendil (IPA: [aɪˈwendil]), Radagast's original name, meant "bird-friend" in Quenya. It is formed by the stem aiwë ([small] "bird") and the ending -ndil ("friend"). Hrávandil is another name of Radagast in Quenya and means "Wild beast friend", from hravan ("wild beast") and -ndil ("friend").

According to the essay "The Istari" from the Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Radagast means "tender of beasts" in Adûnaic, the language of Númenor. However, in a later note J.R.R. Tolkien said that the name is in the language of the Men of the Vales of Anduin, and that its meaning is not interpretable.

The name Radagast may actually be Anglo-Saxon, and could have several interpretations, but, according to The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth, this name is derived from a Slavic pagan god. The name Radegast was a name for one of West Slavic lesser gods. He is a god of the Sun, war, fertility and harvest. He is also called Radigost, Radegast, Radhost, Radhošť, Redigast.[7] The similarity to Old English rudugást meaning "red-brown spirit" has also been noted by fans.

Character[]

Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends.
—Gandalf[3]

Tolkien's writing does not shed much light on Radagast's personality. In the books, little is known about Radagast apart from certain defining characteristics. Saruman was the chief of the Order of Wizards and Gandalf came next in the order; Radagast meanwhile held much less power and wisdom.[2]

As one of the Maiar of Yavanna, Radagast had a great interest in the kelvar and olvar of Middle-earth and was a friend to beasts and birds.[2][3] Gandalf, however, held greater respect from, and knowledge about, birds than Radagast.[8]

Radagast displayed some qualities of innocence and naivety, making him an ideal accomplice of Saruman's plans, seen in providing his services to help the White examine the Gladden Fields. Saruman in turn considered him simple (minded) and a fool and can be heard saying that he (Radagast) acted in a manner contrary to how an Istari should behave. However he was fundamentally good and honest and therefore did not fall to the shadow, but did fail in his appointed task. In Unfinished Tales, Tolkien writes that "indeed of all the Istari, one only remained faithful," referring to Gandalf.

Abilities[]

In the books, during the Council of Elrond, Gandalf referred to Radagast as "master of shapes and changes of hue", but the meaning of this is open to question. He was wiser than any man in all things concerning herbs and animals. It is said that he spoke many languages of birds and was a friend to them and all animals.

Behind the scenes[]

It is unknown if Radagast left Middle-earth. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote that he forsook his mission as one of the Wizards by becoming too obsessed with animals and plants, so presumably failing, perhaps being disallowed to return to Valinor with honour.[2] Tolkien also wrote that he did not believe Radagast's failure was as great as Saruman's (because he did not fall to evil), and that he may eventually have been allowed (or chose) to return.

In other versions[]

From the first drafts of The Hobbit, Bladorthin (Gandalf) identifies Radagast as a fellow wizard and as his 'cousin'. John D. Rateliff notes that, at this stage in the development of Tolkien's legendarium there was no reason why a wizard could not have a cousin. Rateliff also suggests that it is likely that Tolkien considered explaining Gandalf's absence (following the departure of Thorin and Company from Beorn's house) by saying that he went to visit Radagast (who lived close by) to plan the attack on the Necromancer.[9]

Early in the process of writing The Lord of the Rings, it is clear that Tolkien envisaged some role for Radagast in the tale.[10] He eventually decided that he would use Radagast as the means of getting Gandalf to Isengard.[11]

Initially Gandalf describes Radagast as his 'cousin',[11] as he did in The Hobbit, but in a subsequent draft he becomes his 'kinsman'.[12] In the final version Gandalf merely says that Radagast is 'one of my order'.[3]

Tolkien initially called him "Radagast the Grey", but in pencil he changed this to "Brown" and subsequently Saruman refers to him as "Radagast the Brown".[13]

When Tolkien finished writing the story up till Moria, he made notes on the future story development; therein he considered handing over Isengard to Radagast.[14]

In adaptations[]

BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings (1981)[]

Donald Gee provided the voice of Radagast in the BBC 1981 radio series. He is introduced much earlier than in the book because his meeting with Gandalf is given chronologically.

The Hobbit film trilogy[]

Radagast and Gandalf 2

Radagast with fellow Wizard, Gandalf, in The Hobbit films

The character Radagast and virtually all references to him were not used in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. The character is also absent from the 1978 animated movie of the same name.

Radagast does appear in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, although no scene involving him is corraborated by Tolkien's writings. In the book, Radagast is mentioned only once in passing, as Gandalf's cousin. In the films, he is portrayed by actor Sylvester McCoy of Doctor Who fame.

Radagast is portrayed as having an eccentric personality, but is also selfless and brave, as when seen healing the hedgehog Sebastian and when waylaying an Orc pack so that Thorin and Company could go to Rivendell. He is also highly intelligent, being a Wizard, having an adept understanding of nature and ability to perform healing spells and magical blasts. Radagast's fidgety and slightly hyperactive speech pattern is somewhat of a trademark of actor Sylvester McCoy, who has a history of playing eccentric and comedic characters.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey[]

Radagast is first mentioned in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Bilbo Baggins inquires of Gandalf whether there are any other wizards within Middle-earth. Gandalf responds that there are five wizards, of whom Radagast is one. Gandalf says that Radagast is a great wizard in his own particular way, also calling him a kind-hearted individual enjoying the solitude of standing guard over the Greenwood forest and preferring the company of animals to that of Men.

Radagast is then seen investigating the Greenwood, noticing that much of the vegetation is beginning to decay and much of the animal life is sick or dying. Radagast brings one of them, a hedgehog he calls Sebastian, back to his woodland house at Rhosgobel where he is able to nurse the hedgehog back to health. Radagast comes to the realization that a type of powerful witchcraft has caused the decay of the Greenwood and its transformation into what would now become known as Mirkwood. After Rhosgobel is swarmed by Giant Spiders and he manages to save Sebastian, Radagast investigates and identifies the origin of the evil as the supposedly abandoned fortress of Dol Guldur.

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Radagast at Dol Guldur

Radagast makes his way to Dol Guldur aboard a sled pulled by Rhosgobel rabbits. While Radagast is investigating Dol Guldur, he is attacked by the spirit of the Witch-king of Angmar. Radagast is able to ward off his attacks and forces the Witch-king to drop his Morgul-blade and retreat. But before Radagast could take a moment to breathe, he immediately senses another danger and turns to see a shadowy figure within the fortress, whom he believes to be the Necromancer. Without hesistation, Radagast grabs the Morgul-blade before fleeing out of the ruins. Sensing the danger as well, Radagast's sled of Rhosgobel rabbits take off without their master, forcing the wizard to run on foot to catch up before eventually grabbing the reins. Fighting off the resident bats, Radagast manages to make a difficult escape.

He immediately goes on the search for Gandalf to inform him of the new found threat within Mirkwood and is able to locate him within the Trollshaws accompanying Thorin and Company. Radagast tells Gandalf of the threat the Necromancer poses to Middle-earth from within Dol Guldur and presents the Morgul-blade as evidence. Shortly afterwards, the company is attacked by a battalion of Warg-riders led by Yazneg. Radagast volunteers to create a diversion with his sled of Rhosgobel rabbits, drawing the Warg-riders away from Thorin and company, who are able to reach the safety of the Hidden Valley of Rivendell. Radagast's rabbit sled's superiority in speed and maneuverability allows him to escape the Warg-riders before they are driven off by Elven horsemen led by Elrond.

At the White Council meeting in Rivendell, Gandalf backs Radagast's claim that the Necromancer poses a serious threat to Middle-earth. But the head of the White Council, the white wizard Saruman, remains skeptical and claims there is no evidence to support such a theory despite Radagast's finding of the Morgul-blade. Saruman sneers in contempt and suggests that excessive consumption of mushrooms has addled Radagast's judgement and reduced his reliability.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[]

In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Radagast meets Gandalf inside the High Fells of Rhudaur and they find the tombs (or cells) of the Nazgûl broken into by 'dark spells'.

HighFellsRhudaur21

Radagast appears in the High Fells to aid Gandalf in investigating the Nazgûl tombs

Radagast is sceptical of Gandalf's beliefs that the Necromancer summoned the Nazgûl to Dol Guldur, believing that no human sorcerer could accomplish this. However, Gandalf reminded him that the Nazgûl only answer to their one true master, Sauron, whom he suspects is the true identity of the Necromancer. Realizing that Sauron plans on attacking the Lonely Mountain, Gandalf attempts to leave to rejoin Thorin and Company, but Radagast insists that they investigate Dol Guldur themselves assuming what Gandalf believes is true. Upon arriving at the seemingly abandoned fortress, Gandalf guessed that a spell of concealment had been erected over the place, suspecting that their enemy has not regained his full strength. Gandalf sends Radagast to take a message to Lady Galadriel while Gandalf continues his own investigation of the 'abandoned' fortress. Before Gandalf goes in, he has Radagast swear not to save him should anything happen, especially believing it to be a trap.

Radagast with Eagles - BotFA

Radagast arrives at the Battle of Five Armies with the Great Eagles

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies[]

In the final installment of the trilogy, Radagast is seen chanting an incantation, seemingly a telepathic communication to support Gandalf as he attempts to break free from his cage. Later, he arrives at Dol Guldur where he takes Gandalf to his sled, by the order of Galadriel. Radagast provides Gandalf a horse to ride to Erebor and his Wizard's staff to replace his old one. Gandalf tells Radagast to summon every bird and beast to join in the battle for the Lonely Mountain. Radagast leads a charge of the Great Eagles at the end of the battle to assist the Dwarves, Men, and Elves. He rides one of the eagles (possibly Gwaihir) along with Beorn.

Video games[]

  • Radagast also appears in the trading card game affiliated with Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings Online - Radagast

Radagast in The Lord of the Rings Online

  • In The Lord of the Rings Online Radagast, "Master of Shapes", in the distant past had taught the ancestors of the Beornings the art of skin-changing. Evil men then captured some of the Beornings and tortured the secret out of them, creating two distinct tribes of people: the Gauredain, Men of the Wolf, and Ungoledain, Men of the Spider. Radagast regretted what had happed and used every opportunity to take the art back from the people who stole it against his will, but both tribes persisted in the untamed wilderness. During his stay in Rhosgobel, Radagast had come across Gollum who was stealing and eating the babies of the Woodmen and banished him from the Vales of Anduin, causing Gollum to crawl inside the caverns of the Misty Mountains. In early TA 3018 Radagast, on his way to see Saruman, visits Grimbeorn and bids him to send one of his children with a message for Aragorn in Bree-land.
  • In the present time, Radagast is first found in Ost Guruth, a small settlement of men in the Lone-lands north of the Great Road. He is friendly to the local people, the Eglain, and helps them to combat the rise of evil in the swamps of Agamaur.[15] Radagast does not actively participate in the War of the Ring, but after the war returns to heal the damaged land now that the evil of Dol Guldur is no more. He starts at King Thranduil's halls in Eryn Lasgalen, then journeys north to the Grey Mountains and finally travels back to his old home in Rhosgobel through the Vales of Anduin. Along the way he takes the player with multiple way of helping the living creatures around them and meets Gandalf, whom he apologizes for unwittingly leading him to Saruman. Radagast eventually settles back in Rhosgobel now that the very evil that once made his leave it is departing from the forest.
  • Radagast appears in The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, where he flees from his home in Rhosgobel during the War of the Ring to one of his hideaways in Mirkwood. There Radagast is captured by the spider Saenathra, at the behest of Agandaûr. Radagast is later freed by Eradan, Farin and Andriel, who kill Saenathra. Radagast then tells the trio of where to locate the dragon, Úrgost, further advancing their quest. He is voiced by Phil Proctor.
Lego Radagast

Radagast as a playable character in LEGO: The Lord of the Rings

LEGO Radagast

  • He appears in the game LEGO The Lord of the Rings as a playable character and can be purchased near Bree, however he does tend to wander and is not always in a set location. His equipment includes only a staff which is unique to this character.
  • Radagast appears also in LEGO The Hobbit: The Video Game as a playable character. Radagast has the ability to heal sick creatures and to destroy blue Lego objects. For cooperative play purposes he joins Gandalf in investigating Dol Guldur.
  • Radagast, is a hero figurine in The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game in two different versions: the standard model "Radagast the Brown with Sebastian", and a limited model sold with the box The Hobbit: Escape from Goblin Town.

Toys[]

Radagast is exclusive in LEGO to one set: Dol Guldur Battle. The set includes Radagast and his fellow wizard, Gandalf the Grey, and Azog and the Necromancer and two Gundabad Orcs.

Voice dubbing actors[]

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Czech Václav Knop
FrenchRadagast in LEGO Hobbit Video game (France) Gabriel Le Doze
German Erich Ludwig
Hungarian Gábor Harsányi
Italian (Italy) Bruno Alessandro
Polish Wiesław Komasa
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Mário Monjardim
Slovak Boris Farkaš
Spanish (Latin America) Eduardo Tejedo
Spanish (Spain) Juan Fernández (AUJ) / Enric Isasi-Isasmendi (DOS)

Gallery[]

Radagast @
Radagast in the Hobbit film trilogy
Radagast 23
Radagast in the Hobbit film trilogy
Radagast and Gandalf2
Gandalf and Radagast in Mirkwood
Radagast 3
Radagast as portrayed by Sylvester McCoy
Radagast 2
Radagast as portrayed by Sylvester McCoy
Radagast with his Rhosgobel Rabbits
Radagast with his Rabbits
Radagast, gandalf and saruman displays
From left to right: Saruman (Lee) Radagast (Weta's John Harding) and Gandalf (Ian Mckellen) displays of LOR trilogy
Radagast Weta's John Harding photograpy
Weta's John Harding as Radagast (photograpy session)
Radagast Weta's John Harding making of
Weta's John Harding (Radagast making of)
Radagast Weta's John Harding making of2
Weta's John Harding (Radagast making of)
Radagast's rustabell rabbits
Radagast's Rhosgobel rabbits
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A photo of Radagast
Radagast (Mithril LR3)
Radagast as a Mithril Miniature.
RadagastMain
Miniature of Radagast the Brown produced by Games Workshop for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
Radagast art (BGiME)
Art of Radagast from Battle Games in Middle Earth
Radagast01
Miniature of Radagast and Sebastian produced by Games Workshop for The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game.
RadagastOnSleigh
Miniature of Radagast's Sleigh, produced by Games Workshop for The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game
RadagastEscape
Miniature of Radagast produced by Games Workshop for The Hobbit: Escape From Goblin Town
Radagast (LOTRO)
Radagast (LOTRSBG)
Radagast War in the North
Radagast as he appears in the War in the North video game.
War in Middle Earth - Radagast, Frodo and Sam
Radagast in J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth.
Radagast - LOTR The Card Game (ally)
Radagast from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, A Journey to Rhosgobel Adventure Pack
Radagast - LOTR The Card Game (Hero)
Radagast from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Fate of Wilderland Adventure Pack

Translations[]

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ራዳጋስት
Arabic راداغاست
Armenian Րադագաստ
Assamese ৰাদাগষ্ট
Belarusian Cyrillic Радагасту
Bengali রাদাগাস্ট
Bulgarian Cyrillic Радагаст
Catalan Ràdagast
Chinese (Hong Kong) 瑞達加斯特
Dogri रडागस्त
Georgian რადაგასტი
Greek Ραδαγαστ
Gujarati રાડાગસ્ત
Hebrew רדגסט (Radagast)

אייוונדיל (Aiwendil)

Hindi रैदागैस्ट
Icelandic Ráðagestur
Japanese ラダガスト
Kannada ರಾಡಗಾಸ್ಟ್
Kazakh Радагаст (Cyrillic) Radagast (Latin)
Konkani रडागस्त
Korean 라다가스트
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Радагаст
Macedonian Cyrillic Радагаст
Marathi राडागस्त
Mongolian Cyrillic Радагаст
Nepalese राडागस्ट
Pashto راداګاست
Persian راداگاست
Russian Радагаст
Sanskrit रदगस्त्
Sindhi ريڊاگست
Sinhalese රදගස්ට්
Serbian Радагаст (Cyrillic) Radagast (Latin)
Tajik Cyrillic Радагаст
Tamil ரடகாஸ்ட்
Tatar Радагаст
Thai ราดากัสต์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Радагаст
Urdu راداگاست
Uzbek Радагаст (Cyrillic) Radagast (Latin)
Yiddish ראַדאַגאַסט

References[]

  1. The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Account of the Valar and Maiar According to the Lore of the Eldar"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Unfinished Tales, Part Four: II: "The Istari"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  4. The Hobbit, Chapter VII: "Queer Lodgings"
  5. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter III: "The Ring Goes South"
  7. Slavic languages
  8. The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pg. 245
  9. The History of The Hobbit: Mr Baggins and Return to Bag-End, The Second Phase, "Medwed", "(vi) Radagast"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, vol. VI, The Return of the Shadow, The Third Phase: "New Uncertainties and New Projections", pg. 379; J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXIII. In the House of Elrond", pg. 397
  11. 11.0 11.1 The History of Middle-earth, vol. VII, The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond"
  12. The History of Middle-earth, vol. VII, The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond", pg. 149
  13. The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (1)", pp. 130-140
  14. The History of Middle-earth, vol. VII, The Treason of Isengard, "The Story Foreseen from Moria", pg. 212
  15. NPC: Radagast the Brown at My.Lotro.com (accessed 8 October 2011)
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